The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia

  • Last updated 21-Aug-2014 15:14

The Secretary General’s Special Representative is responsible for carrying forward the Alliance’s policy in the two strategically important regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Mr. James Appathurai, NATO Spokesman

He provides advice to the Secretary General on NATO’s policy in the two regions, and works closely with regional leaders to enhance their cooperation with the Alliance.

Who currently holds this position?

Robert F. Simmons was appointed by the Secretary General as NATO’s first Special Representative in August 2004. Mr. Simmons also currently serves as the NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Security Cooperation and Partnership. Prior to his present position, Mr. Simmons served as Senior Advisor to the United States Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. He has previously occupied a number of positions in the US Department of State dealing with Eurasian security and arms control policy.

What is his or her authority, tasks, and responsibilities?

The Secretary General’s Special Representative is responsible for overall coordination of NATO’s partnership policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

He provides the Secretary General with advice on how best to achieve NATO’s goals in the two regions, and how best to address the security concerns of NATO’s partners. He also provides high-level support for the work of the NATO Liaison Officer in each region. He works closely with the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan in order to ensure that NATO’s policy in Central Asia fully supports NATO’s ongoing mission in Afghanistan.

He liaises with senior officials from Partner governments in the two regions, and advises them on their overall process of reform and how best to use NATO Partnership tools to implement those reforms. He also liaises with representatives of the international community and other international organisations engaged in the two regions in order to ensure coordination of assistance programs.

The Special Representative also promotes understanding about NATO and security issues more generally through engaging with the media and civil society in the two regions.

How is he or she selected and for how long?

The Special Representative is appointed by the NATO Secretary General on an ad-hoc basis.

How did it evolve?

At their Summit in Istanbul in June 2004, NATO Allies agreed to place a special focus on the strategically important regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia. A key element of this special focus is enhanced liaison arrangements, including the appointment of the Special Representative and two NATO Liaison Officers, one for each region.